Freudian Fire and Fury

Images courtesy of

So Holyoke had another case of arson last night – the 30th since May of this year according to – and up until a divine intervention just now the firefighters were still working to put out the smolderings which had collapsed into the basement, and subsequently, the sub-basement, 30 feet deep, thus threatening the entire structure further and setting the stage for deeper damage. It’s all so Freudian. Holyoke is called The Paper City and with an average of an arson a day lately it seems a precariously apt nickname. Holyoke is getting quite the reputation for arson now.

I had driven by that building Sunday afternoon with friends from out of state and they commented on what a beautiful building it was, and how likely once was even more stunning inside and out, and one of my guests asked if they ever were set on fire. My friends are psychic perhaps. Over the weekend they made many astute observations and because they looked at that particular building and asked about arson, I am now reviewing their other observations and predictions and making charts and graphs and taking heed. I am superstitious. It seems time for another visit to the 6 hour psychic.

Today the temps were at 103 when I drove by with a friend en route to get some tests done involving needles stuck into my muscles and then having electric shocks sent in (it hurt and still does, as needlings and shocks do) and the firefighters were still at it. I bet they’d rather be getting needles and shocks than fighting that fire wearing all that protective gear. Sitting inside the car watching was stifling but we had air conditioning and company. Later we had ice cream and sorbet. I doubt they served up grapefruit sorbet at the fire. Imagine being a firefighter and having to wear all that gear in this heat? I used to know a firefighter back in the days at Holyoke Community College where I went for my first two years and until I transferred to UMASS. It was the only place where I was able to write a personal check for my tuition and books and not have it bounce and it was a good school. I still remember things I learned there, especially in philosophy and symbolic logic. Time and again I see the wisdom of If A=B=C then A=C. Some of my friends majored in pool and others majored in moving on.

In my anatomy and physiology class I had a lab partner who was a Holyoke firefighter called, “Kamo” and I wonder if he still fights fires in Holyoke and if he pulled an all-nighter last night. Kamo was really tall and really solid and had twinkly, mischievous blue eyes, a pile of curly hair and one of those mustaches that make an upside-down U. He was a character. We had to dissect a cat together. We didn’t really want to dissect a cat but we had no choice as we both needed this class and dissection was not optional.

So we were assigned a cat and we set to work. I ended up being the knife person and I spent all of the 2 hour lab period carefully and timidly cutting open the cat as directed. I guess I wanted to respect the cat. Then we put our cat in the bin with our names on it and went on to philosophy class or whatever class it was. The next week we opened the bin only to find that our cat had been stolen. We were furious so we began again and I spent the whole 2 hours carefully and meticulously cutting the cat open, yet again as directed. It was like Groundhog Day. We went on to logic class and forgot about it. The next week our cat was gone again and now we were far behind. So Kamo took a new cat and said, “I’ll do this one” and he took 3 slashes at it and it was done in a matter of minutes. There was a lesson there. We moved on to the muscle groups. He had no answer as to why he let me spend two full 2-hour lab periods over-meticulizing. Maybe he enjoyed my meticulous efforts. He was hilarious.

There was a girl who one day began wearing a button that said, “I’ll do anything with anyone at any time–just ask.” Frequently she would disappear with someone or another’s boyfriend to go smoke a joint in the woods. Maybe they asked. Looking back I only recall that button. The guys she went for walks with returned with the lingering odor of pot and circunstance. Life is crazy and complex. In philosophy class we pondered how many angels could dance on the head of a pin and the need for humility to attain higher learning. We didn’t really get it then. I had a math teacher so gifted that I could solve any word problem and aced every exam. If I found that he was still teaching there I’d go take his class again. He had the true gift of teaching. Previously math classes had befuddled me. Philosophy class befuddled me.

There was an opportunist who had figured out elaborate means to get free things from all the vending machines– a lot of finagling to get a pre-made sandwich or can of soda. One day he bragged that he had put a brick on the gas pedal and sent his car off a cliff and was now free of car payments. There were rumors that he had killed cats for fun. Years later while shopping with my grandmother at the mall I ran into a girl from college who told me he was in jail now for murder. My grandmother was hard of hearing and when she later asked about that conversation I told her an acquaintance from college was now a sheepherder. There was another guy people used to point at and say, “See that guy? His brother does the pyrotechnics for Kiss.”

Now a thunder and lightning storm with crazy winds is upon us. I dragged the resin chairs into the building that were blowing around the parking lot because they were headed toward a friend’s truck and I wanted to save the chairs and save the truck. We are all in this life together. Help ever and hurt never and all that. I hope arson finds our immediate neighborhood to be off-limits. Arson comes in many forms and sabotages many people and things. The dudes that own that building are under suspicion. Being under suspicion lingers well after the smoke has cleared. They owe enough back taxes to pay a lot of firefighter salaries.

Apropos of nothing, I found this comic the other day whose file name begins with G and so I found it while uploading pictures for this post, whose file names begin with F:

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